When things look really, really bad, it’s always comforting to me to stare at the stars. It provides a good dose of perspective to think about how fleetingly insignificant our little existence is in the cosmic big picture. I don’t know why. The eternity of the universe should offer no more comfort to me than it would have to a dinosaur. If they could think about such things.
But comforting it is. And even more comforting is to look out on the universe through the lens of science. Just as a pair of vice-grips enhance the strength of your hand, science enhances the ability to see and understand the universe.
I suppose part of the comfort lies not with the view that science affords, but with the science itself. To think we have come so far, the Hubble Telescope, the Principle of Relativity, spacecraft zipping around our solar system, only to be taken down by lesser minds such as the assclowns infesting the nations capital and Wall Street. On good days anyway.
Fun With Einstein
Many people don’t realize that perhaps Einstein’s greatest discovery, encoded within his Special Theory of Relativity, is that time travel is a real phenomenon. I was fifteen when I was first exposed to this concept and I refused to believe it. But over the years I slowly came to grasp the theory and eventually concluded beyond all reasonable doubt that it was a fact.
Of course, the phrase “time travel”, within the framework of Relativity is somewhat misleading. The fact is, we are all traveling into the future, as we speak. And we are surrounded by countless physical processes, serving as clocks to mark this fact.
So what Einstein really discovered was that we can travel into the future at different rates. This has been proven.
One way to think of it is like audio recordings being played back at different speeds. We’ve all heard a tape play back in slow motion, or sped up like chipmunks. Well, the Principle of Relativity demonstrates that when certain conditions are met, different observer’s “tapes” will play at different rates relative to others.
Most people think of time travel in terms of going into the past. I’m sure there are many events we would all like to undo. But Einstein’s Principle of Relativity strictly prohibits traveling back in time. There are many ways to describe why this is so, and many books on the subject, but it works just fine to think of it in terms of us all traveling mandatorally into the future, only at potentially different rates.
So we are all like little tape recordings in progress, and depending on certain conditions, those recordings can run faster or slower relative to someone else’s recording. Varying degrees of chipmunkization or being slowed down. So what are those certain conditions? Well, there’s really just one: go really really fast through space and you will go faster into the future. But watch for astroids.